Donna Summer was an American singer and songwriter who gained prominence during the disco era of the 1970s and became known as the “Queen of Disco“, while her music gained a global following. She sold over 100 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Initially, she became the lead singer of a psychedelic rock band named Crow and moved to New York City. Then, she joined a German adaptation of the musical Hair in Munich, where she spent several years living, acting, and singing in 1968. After meeting music producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte; they went on to record influential disco hits together such as “Love to Love You Baby” and “I Feel Love”, marking Summer’s breakthrough into international music markets. After that, she released hits such as “Last Dance”, her version of “MacArthur Park”, “Heaven Knows”, “Hot Stuff”, “Bad Girls”, “Dim All the Lights”, “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” with Barbra Streisand, and “On the Radio” followed. She amassed a total of 32 chart singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 in her lifetime. She was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach the top of the US Billboard 200 chart and charted four number-one singles in the US within a 12-month period. She dies on 17th May 2012 from lin cancer at her home in Naples. In 2013, Summer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
How did Donna Summer die?
On 17th May 2012, Donna Summer died t her home in Naples, Florida, the USA. She dies at 63 and her death cause was due to lung cancer. A nonsmoker, Summer theorized that her cancer was caused by inhaling toxic fumes and dust from the September 11 attacks in New York City; she was in her apartment near Ground Zero when the attacks occurred. Whereas some reports have instead attributed cancer to Summer’s smoking during her younger years, her continued exposure to second-hand smoking while performing in clubs well after she had quit, and a predisposition to this disease in the family. She was survived by her husband, Bruce Sudano, and her three daughters. Her funeral service was held in Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee, on the afternoon of May 23, 2012. The funeral was a private ceremony, and cameras were not allowed inside the church. A few days after her death, her album sales increased by 3,277%, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Billboard magazine reported that the week before she died, Summer sold about 1,000 albums. After her death, that number increased to 26,000. Fans paid tribute to Summer by leaving flowers and memorabilia on her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Gloria Gaynor said she was “deeply saddened” and that Summer was “a fine lady and human being”. Liza Minnelli said, “She was a queen, The Queen Of Disco, and we will be dancing to her music forever.” She said that her “thoughts and prayers are with her family always.” Dolly Parton said, “Donna, like Whitney, was one of the greatest voices ever. I loved her records. She was the disco queen and will remain so. I knew her and found her to be one of the most likable and fun people ever. She will be missed and remembered.” Janet Jackson wrote that Summer “changed the world of music with her beautiful voice and incredible talent.” Barbra Streisand wrote, “I loved doing the duet with her. She had an amazing voice and was so talented. It’s so sad.” Chaka Khan said, “Donna and I had a friendship for over 30 years. She is one of the few black women I could speak German with and she is one of the few friends I had in this business.” Beyoncé wrote a personal note: “Donna Summer made music that moved me both emotionally and physically to get up and dance. You could always hear the deep passion in her voice. She was so much more than the queen of disco she became known for, she was an honest and gifted singer with flawless vocal talent. I’ve always been a huge fan and was honored to sample one of her songs. She touched many generations and will be sadly missed. My love goes out to her family during this difficult time. Love, B”.
What was Donna Summer Famous For?
- Being a singer and songwriter from the USA.
- For her hit albums such as Love to Love You Baby (1975), Donna Summer (1982), Another Place and Time (1989), Crayons (2008), and more.
What was Donna Summer’s Real Name?
Born with the real name of LaDonna Adrian Gaines on 31st December 1948, Donna Summer was from Boston, Massachusetts, the USA. She was raised in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She held American nationality and her ethnicity was Mixed. She lastly celebrated her 63rd birthday. His dad, Andrew was a butcher, and her mum, Mary was a schoolteacher. She was the third child of seven born to his parents. She was raised in the Boston neighborhood of Mission Hill. She attended Boston’s Jeremiah E. Burke High School where she performed in school musicals and was considered popular. Donna relocated to New York a few weeks before graduation to pursue a career in music. She later joined the blues rock band, Crow. She became fluent in German, and sang various songs in that language, as well as she participated in the musicals Ich bin ich (the German version of The Me Nobody Knows), Godspell, and Show Boat. In 1968, Summer released (as Donna Gaines) on Polydor her first single, a German version of the title “Aquarius” from the musical Hair, followed in 1971 by a second single, a remake of the Jaynetts’ 1963 hit, “Sally Go ‘Round the Roses”, from a one-off European deal with Decca Records.
Donna Summer Career Timeline
- Donna Summer started her career as a part-time model and backing singer in Munich where she met producer Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte during a recording session for Three Dog Night at Musicland Studios. She then signed to their Oasis label in 1974.
- Her first album was “Lady of the Night” followed by her second album “Love To Love You Baby” in 1975.
- She released her third studio album “A Love Trilogy”.
- Her fourth album is “Four Seasons of Love” which was released in 1976.
- Her fifth studio album is “I Remember Yesterday” followed by “Once Upon a Time”.
- Her other album includes Bad Girls (1979), The Wanderer (1980), Donna Summer (1982), She Works Hard for the Money (1983), Cats Without Claws (1984), All Systems Go (1987), Another Place and Time (1989), Mistaken Identity (1991), Christmas Spirit (1994), I’m a Rainbow (1996), and Crayons (2008).
- In 2003, she issued her autobiography, Ordinary Girl: The Journey, and released a best-of-set titled The Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer.
- On December 11, 2009, she appeared at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert for Barack Obama.
- In August 2010, Summer released the single “To Paris With Love”, co-written with Bruce Roberts and produced by Peter Stengaard.
- On September 15, 2010, she appeared as a guest celebrity, singing alongside contestant Prince Poppycock, on the television show America’s Got Talent.
- On June 6, 2011, she was a guest judge on the show Platinum Hit.
- On December 11, 2012, after four prior nominations, Summer was posthumously announced to be one of the 2013 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and was inducted on April 18, 2013, at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater.
- A remix album titled Love to Love You Donna, containing new remixes of some of Summer’s classics, was released in October 2013.
- Her first TV appearance was in the television show, Van Oekel’s Discohoek. Whereas, her other notable film and TV appearance include “11 Uhr 20” in 1970, “Thank God It’s Friday” in 1978, and “Family Matters” (1994-1997).
Awards and Achievements
NAACP Image Awards
One-time Juno Award nomination for Best Selling International Single, “I Feel Love”
Three Multi-Platinum albums in the United States
Eleven of her albums went Gold in the United States
Twelve Gold singles
Six American Music Awards
She was the first female African American to receive an MTV Video Music Awards nomination (“Best Female Video” and “Best Choreography” for “She Works Hard for the Money”)
She has received five Grammy Awards:
- 1978 – Best R&B Vocal Performance (Female), “Last Dance”
- 1979 – Best Rock Vocal Performance (Female), “Hot Stuff”
- 1983 – Best Inspirational Performance, “He’s a Rebel”
- 1984 – Best Inspirational Performance, “Forgive Me”
- 1997 – Best Dance Recording, “Carry On”
Thirteen other Grammy Award nominations (a total of eighteen)
- 1978 – Best Pop Vocal Performance (Female), “MacArthur Park”
- 1979 – Album of the Year, Bad Girls
- 1979 – Best Pop Vocal Performance (Female), “Bad Girls”
- 1979 – Best R&B Vocal Performance (Female), “Bad Girls”
- 1979 – Best Disco Recording, “Dim All The Lights”
- 1980 – Best Pop Vocal Performance (Female), “On the Radio”
- 1981 – Best Rock Vocal Performance (Female), “Cold Love”
- 1981 – Best Inspirational Performance, “I Believe in Jesus”
- 1982 – Best Rock Vocal Performance (Female), “Protection”
- 1982 – Best R&B Vocal Performance (Female), “Love Is in Control (Finger on the Trigger)”
- 1983 – Best Pop Vocal Performance (Female), “She Works Hard for the Money”
- 1983 – Album of the Year, “Flashdance,” Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – “Romeo”
- 1999 – Best Dance Recording, “I Will Go with You (Con te Partirò)”
Summer placed a Top Forty hit on the Billboard Hot 100 every year from 1975 (“Love to Love You Baby”) to 1984 (“There Goes My Baby”)
Summer is Billboard’s top charting Hot 100 artist from 1976 to 1982 (pre-MTV era), with 12 top 10 singles.
She was the first artist to score three consecutive number-one double albums
Summer was twice honored by the Dance Music Hall of Fame; once with her induction as a recording artist and again with the induction for her influential single “I Feel Love”
Summer’s Billboard number-one Disco/Club Play hits span from 1975’s “Love to Love You Baby” through 2010’s “To Paris with Love”
In 2013, Summer was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Was nominated for Best Original Song – Motion Picture at the 35th Golden Globe Awards (1978) with John Barry
Who was Donna Summer married to?
Donna Summer was a married woman. She tied the knot with her first husband, Helmuth Sommer (Austrian Actor) in 1973. She gave birth to their daughter Natalia Pia Melanie “Mimi” Sommer. Their marriage ended in divorce, and she then married singer-guitarist Bruce Sudano in 1980. On January 5, 1981, she gave birth to their daughter Brooklyn Sudano (who is now an actress, singer, and dancer), and on August 11, 1982, she gave birth to their daughter Amanda Sudano (who in 2005 became one-half of the musical duo Johnnyswim, alongside Abner Ramirez). Summer and her family moved from the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1995, where she took time off from show business to focus on painting, a hobby she had developed in the 1980s. Before her death, the happily married couple enjoyed their life a lot. Her sexual orietnation was straight.
How much was Donna Summer’s Net Worth?
Donna Summer was a successful singer and songwriter who had made a huge fortune from her profession. As of 2022, the net worht of Donna Summer was estimated to have $75 Million. Her main source of wealth was from the music industry. She was living a lavish lifestyle prior to her demise. At the time of her death, Donna owned a number of homes around the United States. In 1994 Donna bought a 25-acre estate in Brentwood, Tennessee that had a 13,000-square-foot mansion. Two years later she bought a new property in Tennessee, this one in College Grove, for $370,000. This second property spanned 104 acres. In 1997 she bought a 2.2-acre bay-front home on New York’s Shelter Island. In 2000 she bought a condo in Naples, Florida. In 2007 she paid $3.6 million for an oceanfront in Englewood, Florida.
How tall was Donna Summer?
Beautiful actress, Donna Summer stood at the height of 5 feet 7 inches or 1.70 m. Her body weight was 60 KG. Her body type was average. She has dark brown hair color and her eye color was black. Her body measurement was 32-26-32 in.